How to Get a Tax ID Number

How to Get a Tax ID Number

If you own a business and have employees, have work authorizations or have the need to file federal excise duty, then it would be apt to wonder how to get a tax ID number. Tax ID number is issued in order to get proper verification of the individual who is filing any such tax returns. But before proceeding towards how to get a tax ID number, it would be more appropriate to know what is a tax ID number and when does the need to obtain one arises. So read on.

What is a Tax ID Number?

Tax ID number or TIN is a number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Social security Administration (SSA). This number is used by the IRS for the administration and regulation of various tax laws. If you want to learn how to get a tax ID number, then it is essential to know the various types of taxpayer identification numbers.

Types of Tax Identification Numbers

There are typically three essential tax ID numbers:

  1. Employer Identification Number or EIN (also knows and business or federal taxpayer ID number)
  2. Social Security Number or SSN
  3. Individual Taxpayer I Number or ITIN

Except for the Social Security Number which is issued by SSA, all the other Tax ID Numbers are issued by the Internal Revenue Service.

When do you need a tax ID number?

So if you are curious to know how to get a tax ID number, you first need to understand the circumstances in which you may need a tax ID number. Here are the possible scenarios in which you need a tax ID number:

  • When you own a corporation or partnership and have employees
  • Whenever you need to file tax returns on alcohol and tobacco, excise duties, employment
  • Whenever you have to claim some treaty advantages
  • When you need to file for tax exemptions

Now that we are done with the information necessary to comprehend for a better understanding of tax ID numbers, it is safe to explain how to get a tax ID number.

How to get a tax ID Number(s)?

Since there are three different types of tax ID numbers, we will explain how to get a tax ID number for each.


Employer ID number or federal tax ID number is also referred to as business tax ID number. Just as the name suggests, this is the ID number which is issued to business entities for identification for their particular tax obligations. An important thing to note before you quiz over how to get a tax ID number for employer identification is that you do not really need one if you are operating a sole proprietorship company (unless, of course, you are filing excise tax returns or pension) or a limited liability company that does not have employees as your SSN number will be equally valid in this case.

There are four separate ways in which you can apply for an EIN. Amongst the four procedures, two of those will permit your business to get employer tax identification number immediately. To begin the application process, download the SS-4 form from the here:

  1. Applying Online

Applying online on the IRS website is a preferable method which is accessible to all the businesses that are recognized legally in USA. It would hardly take twenty minutes and the approval, too, is immediate and you get you EIN number after completion. You can save and print the confirmation notice. So if you are wondering how to get a tax ID number, this is the easiest of methods. However, you must complete the application form in one sitting as you cannot save and work on it later. The current session expires if you remain inactive for more than 15 minutes and you will have to start all over again if this happens.

  1. Through Telephone

Businesses can also get the EIN number through a telephonic call. The person, who is making the call, must have the authorization to receive the federal tax ID number. At this point, you will need to answer all the questions asked by the representative related to the SS-4 form. The toll free number on which you can make the call is 800-829-4933. The calls can be made in between 7:00 AM till 10:00 PM of the local time. You will receive the EIN number at the end of the telephonic conversation with the IRS representative.

  1. By Mail

If there is no urgency in acquiring tax ID number and you are wondering how to get a tax ID number for your business, then you can apply for it through mail. You will get a response within four weeks. You must ascertain that the SS-4 form has all the necessary information. The EIN number will be mailed to you. The mailing address is mentioned in this link–(for-Form-SS-4).

  1. By Fax

If you want to know how to get a tax ID number, then you will be glad to know that you may also file for the EIN number via fax machine. The taxpayers have to complete the SS-4 form and fax it to the relevant fax numbers. The numbers are mentioned here–(for-Form-SS-4). If you have provided your fax number, then you will obtain the federal tax ID number in the duration of four business days through fax.

You can obtain more information on how to get a tax ID number for employer identification on the official IRS website.


If you are a foreign national or are not eligible for social security number, but still have to file federal tax returns wanting to learn how to get a tax ID number, then you should know that you require an individual taxpayer ID number. Following are the few examples of the individual who need to obtain an ITIN number:

  • Nonresident foreigners
  • Foreign US residents who are not eligible to get SSN
  • Spouse or dependents of a citizen of US or a foreign resident
  • Spouse or dependents of a foreigner holding a visa

The ITINs are not valid for work related purposes and are only valid for usage within the tax system. This means that individuals cannot use it for identification for purposes that are not related to taxes.

How to get a tax ID number for nonresident and resident USA aliens and their spouse/dependents?

In case you are wondering how to get a tax ID number, that is individual taxpayer identification number, you will need to fill a complex form known as “Form W7” which is the application form for the IRS ITIN. The reason why we call it “complex” is that you need to understand a detailed document that comprehensively provides instructions for filling the form which is called “Instructions for Form W-7” before you fill the form. You have to fill this form whenever the need to file tax returns arises. Ideally you can submit the form for getting ITIN anytime of the year but just bear in mind that you will have to pay penalties or interest after the due date for submission of tax returns has passed. The deadline for the filing of tax returns for the current year is April 15 so you should apply by then if you want to avoid paying these additional charges.

The form requires you to substantiate your foreign status and your actual identity. The passport is the only document which you can show your alien status and identity. The passport is a stand-alone document and you do not have to provide other documents if you are submitting it. But just in case you do not have a passport, then you must furbish other documents in combinations. These are the documents are accepted as an evidence of your identity:

  1. Driver’s license (Foreign or US)
  2. Birth certificate
  3. US state ID number
  4. Visa
  5. Registration card for foreign voters
  6. US military ID card
  7. Photo ID for USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  8. Medical and school records (For dependents)

Photocopies of original documents can be attached if they have been certified by overseas consular officer or by the issuing agency.

The application for getting a tax ID number must have these:

  1. The completed Form W-7
  2. The original tax returns for which you are obtaining ITIN. The tax return documents must be attached behind the W-7 form. In case you want to know how to get a tax ID number for more than one person (i.e. for your dependents and spouse) for a single tax return, then you should know that you can attach all separate W-7 forms with the tax return documents. The ITIN will be assigned after the documents are processed.
  3. The documents mentioned above

So if you are pondering how to get a tax ID number, then after completing the necessary documentation work, you will have to submit them. You may do so in either one of the following ways:

  1. In Person:

For getting your ITIN, you can bring the assembled documents to:

  • Overseas IRS office
  • Designated IRS offices
  • IRS taxpayer Assistance Center in the USA
  1. Through Mail:

You can mail the documents to the address mentioned in the “Instructions for form W-7” which is as follows:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Austin Service Center

ITIN Operation

P.O Box Number 149342

Austin, Texas 78714-9342

  1. Acquiring the help of an acceptance agent:

Just in case you are quizzing over how to get a tax ID number if you are having difficulty in assembling the documents and filling the form yourself, then it would be great to know that you can also apply for an ITIN with the help of an agent authorized by the IRS. The respective agent will assist you in the completion and filing of the form. The acceptance agent can either be an individual or an organization, such as:

  • Accounting firm or a financial institution
  • College

The acceptance agent apart from reviewing the application can also certify for accuracy and then forward the documents to the IRS for further processing. The acceptance agent may even charge an amount for offering their services.

So the next question that you will be asking after finding out how to get a tax ID number for foreign resident or nonresident US citizen is when will you get the ITIN? So if you are qualified to get one, that is nothing is missing from your application, you will get a letter from the IRS, allocating your taxpayer ID number within a duration ranging from four weeks to six weeks. You may contact the IRS to get update about the application if you don’t receive your ITIN within the specified time frame. For that, you can call at the toll-free number 1-800-829-1040. Previously ITIN cards were issued but now in order to avoid confusion with SSN, the authorization letter will do. An important thing to note here is that all those people who already have ITIN cards do not have to replace them with the authorization numbers as they can still use the previous number for all tax related purposes.

For more elaborate information on how to get a tax ID number if you are a foreigner, the read the section on ITIN from here:


So if you want to know how to get a tax ID number, you should note that the social security number is assigned to those individuals who have the authorization to work in the USA. This means if you are not a citizen of USA, you ca still apply to get SSN if you want to work here. This number is required when you have to:

  • report you wages or salary to the government of USA or
  • file tax returns
  • open bank accounts
  • get social security benefits

So if you are puzzling over how to get a tax ID number, you need to know that you can apply for it in any one of the following two ways:

  1. Apply when you are in your own country when you are in the process of filing an immigration application for visa. By doing this, you do not have to come to the Social Security Office in USA when you get there. You may visit for detailed information.
  2. Apply by visiting a Social Security Office if you were unable to file the application for SSN with the immigration visa application. For this you should have the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) papers that verify your immigration status as well as the work authorization. It is recommended that you wait for at least 10 days before filing the application so that verification with the DHS becomes easy and the application is processed more quickly.

In order to get your query answered, that is how to get a tax ID number, you will have to do the following:

  1. Fill the complete Application Form which is Form SS-5.
  2. Assemble two documents that are original documents that show:
    1. Your identity
    2. Age
    3. immigration status related to the work authorization

All of these documents must be original necessarily. However, if these are not originals, then       even attested copies by the issuing agencies will also work.

  1. Take all the original documents and the filled application form to you local office for social security dealings.

The original documents for verification of immigration status that will be accepted are:

  • Form I-766
  • Form I-94
  • Form I-551
  • Admission stamp

Exchange visitors (on J-1 or J-2 visa) also need to show their DS-2019 form whilst J-1 immigrant students will have to show the sponsor letter printed on the official letterhead having an original signature. Form I-20 needs to be brought if you are on F-1 or M-1 visa.

Now that you know how to get a tax ID number, you will now be wondering when you will be issued the SSN. Your number and card will be mailed you just as soon as the verification of all the documents is done with the issuing agencies.

If you are wondering how to get a tax ID number, that is your SSN if you do not have the permission of DHS to work in USA, then you must know that you will have to produce a valid non-work related excuse. This can be done if you want to acquire social security benefits (only if you are entitled to them). If you only need SSN for filing tax returns, then you will have to file Form W-7, that is, the application form for Individual Taxpayer ID number.

If you still have some queries related to how to get a tax ID number if you have work permits please click on the link below:

You may also obtain all the assistance you need related to how to get a tax ID number (SSN) from the official SSA website.

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